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What do you learn from going through two major tech acquisitions? It’s all about having a firm strategy, says AffinityX CMO Lynn Tornabene, our latest guest on Heard on the Street. In Tornabene’s varied career leading projects at top tech firms, M&A lightning struck twice—at DoubleClick (acquired by Google), then Quattro Wireless (acquired by Apple).

“In many cases, it’s the strategy behind it that’s the reason M&A fails, because there really isn’t a strategy,” she said. “DoubleClick thrived under Google and was the rocket fuel for the non-search ad business. Part of that was the strategy behind the deal: Google had a clear strategy of the direction to go and the company to get them there.”

Tornabene picked up another important lesson at Apple, which pursued quality reforms in display advertising, a movement that has persisted elsewhere in the ad industry to this day. The mission statement for iAd was to make ads suck less, which made sense because bad ads were incongruent with Apple’s famously sleek devices and frictionless UX.

“It was one of Steve Jobs’ passions, the idea that the apps created for the device by app developers were beautiful, the devices themselves were beautiful, but the experience for the consumers of those devices when seeing ads was not so beautiful,” said Tornabene. “The idea was that Apple applied their creative expertise.”

Tornabene now applies those quality standards to her current role at AffinityX. The democratization that Apple brought app developers through the first iOS SDK, and the creative standards it packaged in iAd, are emblematic of the democratization of quality advertising that AffinityX now seeks to bring to local advertisers.

“One of our core tenets of our company is this idea of bringing great creative to businesses of any size,” said Tornabene. “Local advertising can have that great creative and engagement and really attract consumers, provide them with a great experience, whether the ad is for a large brand doing a local ad, or if it’s just for the local mom & pop.”

Check out the full episode above, which also includes a discussion of Lynn’s travel, photography hobby, and other learnings from a varied career as a tech, media, and advertising exec. Find out more about Heard on the Street here, and stay tuned for episodes every two weeks.

Mike Boland is Street Fight’s lead analyst, author of the Road Map column, and producer of the Heard on the Street podcast. He covers AR & VR as chief analyst of ARtillry Intelligence and SF President of the VR/AR Association. He has been an analyst in the local space since 2005, covering mobile, social, and emerging tech.

Mike Boland has been a tech & media analyst for the past two decades, specifically covering mobile, local, and emerging technologies. He has written for Street Fight since 2011. More can be seen at